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Volume 6 No. 197


Now TV, Hong Kong's largest quadruple-play pay-TV provider, will launch horse racing channel now668 on Sunday, the Chinese New Year Raceday. Now668 will broadcast all local races and selected overseas races from the Hong Kong Jockey Club live in SD, HD and Super HD formats. From Sunday to the end of this racing season, now TV customers can access the new horse racing channel and all available features on a free trial basis. In addition to live races, now668 will also broadcast a series of lead-in and support programs such as trackwork analysis, racing reviews and various race-related data and statistics. Now668 will offer a number of services including now Player, where customers can watch live races anytime, anywhere via the now Player app on a smartphone or tablet device and now Select VOD service, where costumers can watch race replay and other support programs on now TV's on-demand service, with the video library containing races up to three seasons (now TV).

South African cable provider MultiChoice said that the trial of Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius will have a dedicated 24-hour TV channel in South Africa, promising "round-the-clock" coverage of one of the "blockbuster stories of the year," according to the AP. MultiChoice said that the temporary "pop-up" channel will launch on March 2, "the day before the Pistorius goes on trial in a high court in Pretoria, for killing his girlfriend in his home on Valentine's Day last year." MultiChoice said that "it is the first time it has launched a channel of this kind to cover a major news event." The judge who will preside over the trial has not yet ruled if TV cameras "will be allowed to record images of court proceedings or if the trial at North Gauteng high court can be carried live." TV coverage "was restricted for Pistorius's previous court appearances." Cameras "were allowed to record in court only before proceedings began and after they ended" (AP, 1/29).

At The Races' new in-house streaming division, Sport Mediastream, has agreed a long term deal with the Football Conference, which governs the fifth and sixth tiers of English football. Under the terms of the agreement, the Football Conference has granted ATR the exclusive right to produce and distribute an audio/visual service of live coverage from 30 top matches broadcast on BT Sport, archive match coverage and data to licensees in territories worldwide, excluding the U.K. and Ireland. ATR has also agreed to terms for the non-exclusive right to use archive coverage of Football Conference matches in specific betting preview programming on its U.K. and Ireland channel service, which is distributed via Sky, Virgin and UPC to more than 13 million homes and registers -- a monthly reach of around 2 million individuals (BARB and Nielsen) (Football Conference).

German telecom company Deutsche Telekom announced that pay-TV channel Sport1 US "will be available on its IPTV service starting Friday," according to DIGITALFERNSEHEN. Sport1 US "will be available in standard and high definition on Telekom's Entertain offering." To access the SD version of the channel, Entertain customers "will need a sports package." For the HD version, customers "will need an HD package in addition to the sports package." Telekom's timing to include a dedicated U.S. sports channel in its channel lineup "could not be better as the highlight of U.S. sports year -- the Super Bowl -- takes place on Sunday." In addition to the NFL, Sport1 US airs NBA, college sports and IndyCar, among others (DIGITALFERNSEHEN, 1/27).

IMG Media has secured the in-flight and in-ship media rights from the IOC for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, which runs from Feb. 7-23. The deal includes live coverage on Sport 24, the 24/7 live sports channel produced and distributed by IMG Media exclusively for the in-flight and in-ship markets. There will be more than 60 hours of coverage from Sochi on Sport 24, with nearly 50 hours live (IMG). ... The WTA announced the launch of WTA TV developed by Xerox, an interactive viewing guide that will allow fans to track the latest broadcast information for WTA Premier events based on their location. WTA tournaments were broadcast in 164 int'l markets in '13, with more than 400 matches from 22 Premier events shown (WTA). ... The Apple TV added Red Bull TV as a new channel. The channel provides video available on Red Bull TV’s website and in its iOS app and "promises an assortment of live events, sports, music, and more, all accessible from the comfort of your living room." With Red Bull TV, the Apple TV "now plays host to more than 30 total video services" (MAC WORLD, 1/28).